2009-02-21 22:13:29 ET|
Suzie and I went to London yesterday. We took the train from Cambridge to King's Cross station. It was the first time I'd rode a train since I was eleven. I had been visiting family in Australia. The fare for the train and all day access to the London underground (subway for Americans) was fifty-three pounds for the both of us. The train was very crowded and Suzie and I had trouble finding seats. Eventually we did sit down, me across a man with an uncanny likeness to a young Val Kilmer, and Suzie one row behind me to the left.
I should mention that finding the train station by car is extremely difficult and stress inducing, and the queues at the station are incredible. However, traveling by the underground, during off-peak hours at least, is blessedly simple. We took the tube from King's Cross to Holborn station via the Picadilly line. Disembarking, we made our way to the National British Museum. We only looked at the Mitsubishi Galleries, containing Japanese artifacts from prehistory to modern, and the ancient Egypt displays.
By far the most amazing view was found in ancient Egypt. My heart skipped a beat as I looked upon the mummy of the late Cleopatra. I'd seen specials on the Discovery channel back home, but they do not accurately represent the beauty of the paintings inside the sarcophagus. If the paintings are accurate, she was indeed a most beautiful woman.
Our feet hurting we sat down at the cafe for lunch and then proceeded to both Harvey Nichol's and Harrod's. Harrod's being the much more impressive of the two. We left empty handed after bearing witness to a toilet brush costing the sum of 195 pounds (about $300).
Aftewards we ate at the Tattersals Tavern, where the service was lacking and with a poor assortment of ciders but very BLT sandwiches. We then proceeded back undergound arrived at Leicester Square and did a little shopping. We bought new jewelry for Suzie to include new razor blade earings and a new belly button swirl as well as new bracers for both her and I. We then visited a tobacco shop on my behalf so I could buy some pipe tobacco. Whilst in America we have the generic Surgeon General's Warning, in Britain it says in very large font across every tobacco containing everything "SMOKING KILLS". Very simple, and to the point, and, admittedly, effective. Mostly due to its very ugly font.
We then traveled back to Cambridge the same route we came in on, via Picadilly line and the Rail station. On the ride home we sat across from an older man and his daughter, both decked the ears in Arsenal apparel, an English soccer team. Perhaps there had been a game?
We slept mostly on the ride home and fell asleep upon our final arrival. London is a fine city, but compared with our more recent excursion to the French Quarter of New Orleans, it lacks a certain true-to-life grittiness that flows so naturally in the little Louisiana port city.